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Nova Scotia: The Province that has been Passed By
Chapter XII. Pictou and New Glasgow


New Scotland has an advantage which Old Scotland cannot boast. It is as carboniferous as Wales, and is a country of mines and miners. My first introduction to Nova Scotia’s coal was made at Stellarton, in what are called the Pictou coalfields. Coal has been mined hereabouts for upwards of a century, and one of the very earliest railways on the Continent was that built from the Albion mine to Pictou Landing, six miles away. That was in 1836-39. The promoters of this miniature line of rail showed considerable prescience in building it of a with then considered unusual, but which has since come to be the “standard gauge.” Stephenson’s rival, Hackworth, built the first engine used thereupon for over forty years, and now considered a great curiosity. It was shown at the World’s Fair, Chicago, and later at St. Louis.

About 1B25 an English company received, under certain terms from the Crown, the right of working mines and minerals in Nova Scotia, and this company shortly thereafter commenced spirited operations both at Pictou and at Sydney in Cape Breton, restricting themselves to coal-mines and ironworks from imported material. Previously coal came chiefly from surface pits, and was of inferior quality. “The principal shaft,” we read in the original prospectus of the company, “has been sunk to the depth of two hundred and fifty feet below the surface, and steam power has been applied for the usual purposes of draining and of raising minerals. The veins of coal laid open by this procedure are of a quality much superior to those formerly discovered. The coal is overlaid by a decayed blackish shale; it is of jet-black colour, and contains a large proportion of bitumen. Excellent coke is made from it, and for the furnace it is highly esteemed. The Cape Breton coal is preferred for household use on account of its producing less of the white or brown ashes than that of Pictou.”

The lease was granted to the company for sixty years to work all minerals belonging to the Crown, save in such tracks as had already been reserved to others. One of these was then worked by the Annapolis Iron Company, which was in fact the only competitor of the General Mining Association. It was then, eighty years ago, observed that the mining industry was proving of greater apparent benefit to the valley of the East River than upon Pictou Town. “Good roads, increase of settlement, numerous waggons and horses where none were previously kept, and a market well supplied where none formerly existed, are outward and visible signs indicative of the neighbourhood of two hundred well-paid beef-eating and porter-drinking operatives.”

The result being then foreshadowed, New Glasgow and Stellarton sprang into being formidable rivals to Pictou, which, from its marine situation, has been almost sidetracked by the railway. Other mines flourish in these parts, such as the Drummond and Acadia Collieries in Westville, and the Vale Colliery at Thorburn. But the character of the mines is the same here on this side of the Atlantic as that which depressed the soul of John Ruskin and gladdened the heart of Samuel Smiles.

Stay! I think this statement required some qualification. It would be manifestly unfair not to take notice of the system here inaugurated by which so many of the miners—nearly all the married ones—own their own homes. And there is even an effort, and by the miners themselves, that these homes shall be tasteful within and without, and that each shall have his garden. Nothing has ever struck me so forcibly when perambulating the mining districts of the Black Country of Wales as the indifference with which men, immured for at least a third of their lives in the darksome bowels of the earth, regard the amenities of the home and its surroundings of lawn and flower and vine. More passionately because of their long deprivation would one expect them to cling to the superterrene light and colour of life, and the res pulchra demi. Far otherwise is it, and all the more refreshing to see here a brawny Cornishman hurrying from the pit, and after washing the grime from his face and hands, employ the remaining hour of daylight in robing his bit of turf and hoeing his patch of flower garden. Will a time come, we wonder, when no human occupation shall be too strenuous, too sordid, for a man to spend his leisured hours in decency and calm. No vain visions have I of pitmen and navvies reading Tennyson in velvet smoking jackets and slippers, or pit foremen in dress clothes sipping port wine; but I do look forward confidently to the time, in England, when a man may, without remark, boast the domestic virtues and enjoy the higher domestic comfort, even though he engage in an occupation in which for so many hours a day the wearing of a white shirt, or of any shirt at all, is totally dispensed with. Some steps towards the realisation of this I witnessed with my own eyes at New Glasgow, where a man who had been broiling half-naked before a fiery furnace all day, was at twilight seated in cool, clean raiment, in his own little parlour (very tastefully furnished, too), playing one of Sousa’s marches on a pianola!

A thriving town is New Glasgow, and very beautiful when viewed from the other side of the East River. Here are coal-mines, iron and steel works, shipbuilding yards, glassworks, and other industries. Here, two miles from the heart of the town, :s the headquarters of the Nova Scotia Steel and Iron Company, the pioneer steelworks in Canada, with open-hearth converters, the latest equipped rolling mills, steel hammers, &c., altogether employing 800 men. On the way thither I passed a cemetery filled with the tombs of the early settlers, nearly all Highland names, many h filing from Old Glasgow, who would probably be very much astonished and highly gratified to-day at the prosperity and size of the town they founded.

Mr. Cantley, the able manager, told me something about the operation of the works for the first three months of 1910. Increases had been made in practically every line of work in connection with the company, referring by this to the coal mined, the coal shipped and outputs in the mills and forges. The increase in the output of ingots from 17,508 tons for the first quarter of the year 1909, to 20,372 tons for the corresponding period of 1910, or an increase of practically 19 per cent.; an increase in the amount of coal mined of 8 per cent., and of coal shipped 20 per cent. Increases were also recorded in the forge department, steel department, and in fact in practically every department; in addition to that, the most important feature was that the average nett prices obtained from steel sales for 1910 showed an increase of 2.01 dollars per ton over the corresponding period of 1909,

As to the steel tonnage now on the books of the company, it amounted to about 15,000 tons, which was all he cared to see on the order sheets of the company for the present until prices had improved.

The population of New Glasgow is about 6000 souls, and an electric tramway connects the town with Stellarton and Westville. The islands around the town are particularly fine. From Fraser’s Mountain, an eminence 350 feet high, one may form an excellent idea of the lie of the country round about Pictou and Pictou Islands, the Strait of Canso as far as Cape St. George, the far distant hills of Inverness, even the extremity of Prince Edward Island. To the southward the eye meets the fertile land dotted with churches and settlements, stretching thirty miles away to the mountains of Antigonish. In the foreground courses tortuously the glistening East River on its way to Pictou and Northumberland Strait.

The town of Pictou is situate upon the north side of a capacious harbour, into which three rivers empty, the harbour’s mouth being three miles from the town. It is certainly very much in its disfavour that in winter the basin is closed by ice and is therefore inaccessible between December and April. Pictou was once the second town in the Province, to-day it has been left far behind; yet it enjoys a peculiar old-world character of its own, and is the most Scottish town in all New Scotland. In this district the French had made certain settlements before the Peace of 1763. On the conquest of New France these were deserted, and their farms were again overgrown with forest. In 1765 one Doctor Wearherspoon became the leading spirit of the Philadelphia Company, and, obtaining an extensive grant in the Pictou district, sent hither a number of Maryland families. By way of bounty each of these received a farm-lot, and a supply of provisions.

Following these came thirty families from the Scottish Highlands, who were landed here in the good ship Hector, late in 1773, without sufficient food to carry them through the winter, with the natural result that they nearly starved, many making their way across the forest primeval to the Basin of Minas for assistance. But the settlement struggled on; it was later joined by further families from Dumfries, and gained a great addition to its numbers in 1784, after the American Revolution, by the immigration of many disbanded troopers, who, however, being rather wild and dissolute, greatly shocked the simple-minded, God-fearing pioneers. Not until 1786 did the first pastor, Dr. M'Gregor, arrive to administer to the flock and to preach the Gospel in Gaelic. In the decade following several other ministers arrived at Pictou and the district put forth a great store of grain and godliness. More shiploads of Highlanders landed in Pictou Harbour, and an Academy was founded, which flourishes to this day. But the corner-stone of the first house in Pictou town was not laid until 1789. Once started the growth to a village and then to a town was rapid. It became the resort of coasting vessels from all parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the quantity of oil and fish brought thither annually being large, the exports to the West Indies increased proportionately. More than a century ago at least 100 ships left Pictou loaded with timber for Great Britain, worth, together with other exports, £100.000. Houses of well-to-do merchants went up—houses of stone —which are as staunch to-day as the day they were built. “The air of the place,” wrote a traveller nearly ninety years ago, “strikes a stranger’s eye as peculiarly Scotch. Keen-looking fellows in bob-tailed coats, a la Joseph, of many colours, stand in knots about the streets discussing in broad Scotch or pure Gaelic the .passing topics of the day; while in the distance, a long scarlet robe floating gaudily in the wind, as if in mockery of the sedate air of the student who bears it, carries us back to the classic prey nets of Aberdeen or Glasgow. The Academy, to which these students to the number of about fifteen belong, is an ordinary wooden building neatly painted outside, but not yet finished within, and contains nothing remarkable if we except the learned professor and his little museum consisting (chiefly) of native animals.”

At the northern and eastern parts of the town are suburban residences with spacious grounds enclosed with hedges of English hawthorn, from whence a commanding view can be had of the Straits of Northumberland and the blue waves of the great St. Lawrence Gulf.

On clear days the shores of Prince Edward’s Island are distinctly visible; and out beyond the harbour light, Cape St. George and the distant outline of Cape Breton’s rocky coast can be seen jutting out into the wide Atlantic.

Many years ago a dreadful catastrophe happened to a small mail steamer, the Fairy Queen, plying between Pictou and Prince Edward Island. Through the captain’s carelessness she sprang a leak and went to the bottom. The captain and the crew succeeded in escaping to Pictou in the boats, which were spacious enough to have held all on board. On landing they related a tale of the disaster, believing that no human voice would ever reveal the true story of their cowardice and cruelty. It chanced, however, that although many perished, including a promising British officer and five young ladies, one of whom was bound for England to be married, a few passengers floated off on the upper deck and ultimately, after many hardships, reached land in safety. Along the coast they struggled to Pictou, there to raise a voice from the dead to strike terror and remorse into the hearts of the cowardly captain and crew. The captain was arrested for manslaughter, but, although the popular wrath was great, managed to escape the punishment he merited.

As time wore on in Pictou the Highland bonnet, slouching like a night-cap on the heads of the first generation of settlers, disappeared, to give place to native straw in summer and fur in winter. But the kilts, banned in the old land, sprang up at clan gatherings, and the bagpipes and the Highland ballads and Highland spirit are in vogue to this day.

The morning was warm and balmy as I strode along the harbour front, past the cottages and villas of wood and stone, to a point of land called the Battery at Pictou. Several mounted cannon were pointing seaward, and a weatherbeaten man, with his back towards me, shaded his eyes as he gazed intently in the same direction. When he became aware of my presence, he turned and bade me good morning. “Waiting for my molasses ship from Jamaica,’ he said, jerking his thumb outward. “I thought I saw her in the offing, but I guess I was mistaken.”

We fell to talking about fish, and molasses, and mining. He had been interested in a mine in Newfoundland, and knew something of the ways of Yankee company promoters. He had speculated in many things, but found West Indian produce safest.

“Do you see that building across their—with the tall chimney and the wharves in front of it, and the rails running down to the wharves?”

I said I did.

“Would it surprise you if you found that chimney built of rubble, with no outlet top or bottom?”

I said it would surprise me very much indeed.

“I suppose it would astonish you also to know that only one ship had ever been at that wharf, and no engine or truck on that railway, and no men ever at work in that swelter?” When I had duly satisfied my companion that these things stood in need of some explanation, he volunteered one.

“That yonder’s the relics of the Pictou Copper and General Mining Company, Limited—capital, Lord knows how many thousands of pounds! When I was in England they told me that for these cinematograph exhibitions they get up sample fires, imitation explosions, intentional railway collisions, and collapse old buildings merely on purpose to photograph ’em. Well, that there’s a dummy copper-mine, got up on purpose to photograph, and I’m bound to say the photograph looked darn well in the prospectus. There it all was, and nobody who saw it could get away from it— engine puffing away on the rails, hired for a day from the Inter-Colonial Railway; smoke pouring out of the chimney —they had lit a bushel of brown paper on top; schooner at the wharf, also hired for the occasion—and dang me, sir, there never was a more realistic thing! The capital was raised in no time. People here in Pictou, who weren't in the secret, expected all manner of things. Then the Boston promoters lit out for home, and they ain’t been seen or heard of since. There’s their dummy establishment—I guess you could buy it for a hundred pounds—and there are a lot of people somewhere, in some corner of the earth, who, when they hear the very name Pictou, turn pale and grind their teeth.”

I could not refrain from inquiring whether this was an incident of frequent occurrence.

“I know where it’s happened before and since. Lord bless you, these here Maritime Provinces, including Gaspe, are a perfect hunting ground for that sort of thing. Now, down at Chignecto . . .”

But it is needless to retail all the ensuing conversation, or the instances with which my friend on the Battery at Pictou illustrated it. It suffices to say that every wild-cat scheme engineered by astute and unprincipled financiers from across the border, damages to the extent of its operation, multiplied by ten, the good name and the prospects of New Scotland. All should be alert to inquire into the bona fides of all schemes ostensibly directed to the exploiting of their locality, because the failure of such is certain to redound to that locality’s, nay, the whole Province’s, disadvantage.

The best house in Pictou—perhaps the best-built private one in New Scotland—is Norway House, which, together with 200 acres of farm land adjoining, is the property of Lord Strathcona. Seventy or eighty years ago it was built of stone brought from Scotland, and, as I mention elsewhere, is an excellent specimen of the kind of house that is popular with Canadian insurance companies. I only wish that Lord Strathcona could be induced to work this farm, instead of allowing it to lie fallow, if only because it would in active able hands be an effective advert sermon for the agricultural possibilities of this part of New Scotland.

The town is the seat of Pictou Academy, which deserves a passing mention. The academy was established for the purpose of affording to the children of Dissenters, excluded from the honours of King’s College (Windsor), those literary and scientific requirements which might qualify them for the learned professions. The corporation consists of twelve trustees, the choice for whom, in virtue of an annual Government grant, has to be ratified by the governor. They are required to be Presbyterians or members of the Anglican body. As, however, no religious tests are required of the students, the academy is attended by youths of all denominations. The curriculum is a sound one, and from the first Pictou began to send forth what the Province sadly needed, a race of qualified schoolmasters. Some very eminent Canadian scholars have been educated at Pictou, including Professor Dawson and Principal Grant.

Forty-three miles by railway from Stellarton is Antigonish (accent, please, on the last syllable). A century ago Antigonish was called Dorchester, in honour of Sir Guy Carieton, first Lord Dorchester, Governor of Canada. But the district round about had the Indian name long before that. The first white inhabitants were a few Acadian families at Pomquet, Tracadie, and Au Bouche, whose descendants are still to be found at St George’s Bay. Just after the American Revolution a number of officers and men of the Nova Scotia Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hierlihy and Major Monk, got grants of land here, and immured themselves for several winters without roads of communication to any other part of the Province. After a dozen seasons or so they were joined by Scottish immigrants from the Isles and the Highlands. They found the agricultural country far superior to any they had ever known, and indeed one of the best in New Scotland. Upon the rearing and export of horses, horned cattle and sheep, grain, butter, and pork, they quickly prospered; and the production of shingles and stones, when the large timber was exhausted, was carried on upon a large scale. The shire town of Dorchester or Antigonish was described nearly a century ago as “one of the prettiest villages in the eastern section of Nova Scotia, and the neatness and simplicity of its appearance amply compensates for the absence of bolder scenery.” Judging from that description, I do not think Antigonish has greatly changed. My train brought me there about midnight, and a buggy driven by the landlord himself brought me along a wide street, with majestic elms, through whose dark foliage the moon sent spangled rays of light, to a quaint little inn. It is true the quaintness of the inn, architecturally speaking, hardly corresponded with its name: the Queen Hotel (how they love these high-sounding titles! I have a recollection of a certain Chateau Frontenac at Rimouski, P.Q., where they gave me a single sheet to my bed), and the quaintness was in directions rather disconcerting. For instance, when morning came, I was suddenly aroused by the apparition of an uncouth figure in my room. He was in the act of closing a closet door, from which he had apparently just emerged. I sprang up. “What do you want?” I demanded.

“Nothing,” returned the intruder calmly.

“But what are you doing in my room? I locked the door last night.”

“What am I doing in your room? How else do you think I am going to get out of mine?” He jerked his thumb in the direction of the closet In an aggrieved manner, as if I had meanly suggested his climbing out of the window in order to pursue his daily avocations. All the same, I do not think highly of these peculiar inn-keeping arrangements; nor do I hold that the employment of the title of Majesty on a long sign-board can altogether atone for their primitive simplicity.

Before I leave the inn at Antigonish I am tempted to recall another trifling association. A traveller, commercial or otherwise, will have noticed throughout Nova Scotia, as in the American States, that all servants perform their functions, with rare exceptions, in a singular spirit of protest, as if they were really not enjoying themselves in the most becoming and most appropriate of all feminine relies, to wit, the handmaiden of man. It is really most provoking of the dear creatures! More especially is this uncomfortable spirit manifested towards strangers. My belief is that a too profuse native chivalry is at the bottom of it. You have noticed the scorn and independent air of the British barmaid? her affability and condescension when addressed by her familiars under the names of “Flossie,” “Beryl,” or “Sadie?” Well, then, you have put your finger on that which vexes the traveller’s soul here. Only please note that the British barmaid is a very superior being, and the Nova Scotia hotel-waitress is, as a rule, a foolish, ignorant one. Yet her resentment of strangers rightfully commanding her services is the same.

She was rather a comely wench, was the handmaiden at Antigonish, but sadly spoilt, and a shrewish wrinkle marred her brow. She showed her sense of my coming down late to breakfast by conducting me to a seat where a great draught blew.

“Ye’ll sit there,” she said.

“Oh no, thank you. I will sit here,” I rejoined pleasantly, taking a seat by the wall. She paused in angry astonishment. A smile curled her lip. “Oho,” she seemed to say to herself, “I’ll teach you, my fine gentleman.” I ordered fish. “There’s no fish.” “Very well. I’ll have eggs, boiled in the shell three and a-half minutes, dry toast and coffee.” With a toss of her head the damsel slowly disappeared. In something under twenty minutes she re-entered, bringing a tray upon which reposed a large cup of weak tea, a plate of fried eggs, and some very bilious-looking buttered toast. These having been noisily and carelessly deposited before me, I turned over a fresh page of my newspaper and observed nonchalantly, “Please remove all this stuff, will you, and bring me what I ordered—boiled eggs, boiled for three and a-half minutes in the shell, coffee, and some dry toast. Look sharp, please.” She did look sharp—sharp and shrewish, yet with a something almost of consternation withal. I met her glance with a smile. For ten seconds we confronted one another—a ludicrous situation. Then, gathering the breakfast back again upon the tray, the poor girl departed. When she reappeared she was quite cheerful—the novelty of the experience had, it seemed, taken her fancy. She waited upon me with alacrity. So far from diminishing I multiplied my wants, preferring them with punctilious courtesy. We parted friends, and at luncheon she greeted me with smiles. It is a great pity that the tendency to spoil and pamper girls in menial situations, especially when they are pretty, is not confined to Nova Scotia. It does not make them any the happier, but is, on the contrary, productive of a good deal of unhappiness and discontent. A little less familiarity on the part of those served and a little more attention to business on the part of those serving would be far better. Less than a century ago one could chuck the inn chambermaid under the chin and call her “ my dear” without loss of dignity, eliciting only a prim and grateful curtesy. It is different now. C--

An attractive little town is Antigonish. The houses, built on low ground, are shaded by trees, while the hills rise on all hands. Here is the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Antigonish, St. Ninian’s Cathedral, and St. Francis Xavier College. Chiefly of Highland extraction is the community—the names of the chief clans so abound that in the case of the Macdonalds and Frasers it is usual to mention the Christian names or initials to indicate certain leading individuals. One hears of “E. M.,” and “J. S.,” and “D. C.” in common conversation. Gaelic here is still spoken, especially amongst the older folk, and for the benefit of these latter sermons are occasionally preached in the cathedral; which building is of stone and capable of seating 1200 persons. As I recall the taming of the shrewish maidservant at Antigonish I must not omit mention of my encounter with one whom I was informed was the Episcopal body-servant and factotum. A more astonishingly grotesque individual I have never set eyes upon in my life. Somewhat portly, you only saw fragments of his puffy, white face, owing to a thick growth of beard, which left a space of about two inches between it and a pair of bushy eyebrows. Beard and eyebrows had been red, but were now dyed a startling blue-black, which looked purple in the sunlight. His aspect was truly farouche.

“Is his lordship at home?”

“Ah!”

“Will you take him my card?”

“Eh?”

The factotum was engaged in climbing into a buggy. He stared for a second at the proffered card, crossed himself, gathered up his reins, said “Gaw!” to his steed and drove away, leaving me standing there. I watched him until he had turned the corner, thinking what a weird and beautiful pirate this beady-eyed purple-wiskered joker would have made — what a loss to the comic opera stage.

“Eh, ye’ll no see his reverence the day,” murmured an old woman in my ear, and so I came away.

The College of Saint Francis Xaver is an educational institution, of which not only Antigonish, but also the whole eastern section of Nova Scotia is greatly proud. Students come hither from nearly all parts of Canada and America. The number in attendance is increasing from year to year, and the accommodation is becoming taxed to such an extent that a further addition to the present commodious building has been found necessary. The number of students at present is over one hundred and fifty. Besides the College, and to some extent affiliated with it, is Mount St. Bernard’s Seminary, attended by about seventy young ladies from many of the counties in the Province, and from beyond it. Although both are Roman Catholic, I found that students of all denominations are welcomed, and no better illustration of the broad-mindedness that prevails is the fact that at least two of the Professors at the College are Protestants. Besides these two institutions of higher education, Antigonish boasts two well equipped “separate schools” of three departments, each conducted by competent and experienced teachers.

It was prize-giving day amongst the young lady pupils at the seminary, and I had an opportunity of seeing “sweet girl graduates” from all parts of Nova Scotia, and also from the other provinces. I cannot say that they were very beautiful or very graceful, but I am sure that they were very good. And amongst themselves they were very merry, and spoke of their failures in this or that “exam” with resignation. Many of these girls, I was told, were destined to be teachers.

A Catholic newspaper is published at Antigonish called The Casket. I enjoyed a chat with the editor, a quiet, enlightened man, who aims at “restraint and accuracy,” a journalistic motto which one wishes were only more prevalent. The Casket is an excellent little paper, and a relief from the journalistic horrors elsewhere.

Eight miles from Antigonish is the mouth of the harbour, with a wide sandy beach, much used for bathing, and a number of Antigonians have summer cottages there. But the gem of the district is Lochaber Lake, on the road to Sherbrooke, distant some dozen miles. The lake is five miles in length, very narrow, and a pretty road runs along the shore the whole distance. On the whole the roads are capital hereabouts, and the landscape scenery well worth seeing.

The banks on either side of this lake rise from it abruptly to a considerable height, but without rocky precipices. The water is as clear as a spring, and very deep. It is the last body of water in the district to freeze, and even in January frequently shows a ripple over miles of its limpid surface. How often has the Highland emigrant, home-sick for the heather, sat by its banks and dreamt of the old land and the old faces, ere he or she set out for the new land to see “Lochaber no more”!

Which reminds me that while at Pictou I was taken to see the shanty of an old Highland woman, once well known to travellers by coach, Nancy Stuart of the Mountain. Many stories are still told of Nancy, her sons and her dogs—as well as the “Oiche Whaith Chuibh. Eran-naehd luibh” with which she parted from any who had ever been in the Highlands.

The views throughout the whole of this part of the peninsula are superb. Standing on the top of Sugar-Loaf Mountain, which is close to Antigonish, one obtains a spectacle that is well worth climbing to gain. Gaspereau Lake, also close at hand, is situate 500 feet above sea-level, and is a great resort for wild geese and ducks. Here is a famous centre for partridge shooting. These birds, nobody’s preserves, are often seen in dense coveys close to the railway.

If we follow the line of this lake—the St. Mary’s road, we cut right across the eastern end of the peninsula, and come to Sherbrooke, a few miles from the Atlantic, at the mouth of the St. Mary’s River. Sherbrooke is the headquarters of a busy fishing community, and there is some gold mining carried on hereabouts.

Journeying eastward twenty miles by rail from Antigonish we reach Tracadie, close to a good harbour, opening into St. George’s Bay. There is an Indian reserve in the neighbourhood, but the place is famous for its monastery of Our Lady of Petit Clanvaux, which was founded in 1820.

The members of the community are Cistercian Monks, commonly called Trappists, from their obedience to the rule of a Trappe, the founder of the order. The life of a Trappist is consecrated to prayer, manual labour, and silence. The ordinary hour of rising is two o’clock in the morning, except on Sundays and feast days, when the hour is half-past one. The remainder of the morning, or rather the night, is spent in chanting the offices of the church, in meditation, and other religious duties. The fast is broken by a light meal at 7.30 in the summer, and 11.30 in the winter, the latter season being kept as a Lent. The Monks never eat meat, fish, or eggs, and it is only of recent years that butter has been allowed in the preparation of the vegetable food. The discipline is strict in all other respects, for the Trappist life is the most rigorous of all the monastic orders. Conversation, when necessary, is carried on by signs, except in addressing the abbot.

Besides their own manual labour, the monks furnish considerable employment to others who assist them in their work, and they are excellent farmers. In their religious duties they seek to make reparation for the sins of the outside world. Despite what seems a severe life they enjoy excellent health, and as a rule live to a great age. All their life, however, is a preparation for death. The burial place is close to the monastery, where it is continually in sight. When a monk dies, he is buried in his habit, uncoffined; and when the grave is filled in another grave is opened to remind the survivors that one of them must be its tenant in his appointed time.

There is also a convert of Sisters of Charity at Tiacadie.


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